Monday, April 29, 2013

How NOT to Train a Zombie by Annie Rachel Cole

Title: How NOT to Train a Zombie
Author: Annie Rachel Cole
Format: Paperback, 182 pages
Pub. Date: February 10th 2013
Source: Word Spelunking blog

One star.

The science fair is coming up, and for eight grader Max that means one thing- a chance to become one of the most popular kids in school. The catch? Well.... He's going to have to break at least a dozen rules and laws. But in the end it'll be worth it, if he can just catch and train a zombie... Won't it?


As with most zombie books, I was hoping that this would be the one to turn me. I thought that by maybe going towards a middle grade age, I would find the zombie genre cuter and more endearing. Unfortunately, my streak of bad zombie books continues. This book is written like an episode of Scooby-Doo... If Shaggy wasn't a cowardly lovable character.

-The lead character, Max, is a jerk. And he continues to be throughout the entire course of the book. It starts with him trying to peer pressure his best friend Chad into doing something against the law- catching a zombie and keeping it in his home. Max somehow paints Chad into the bad guy, even though he stood up for his morals and said that being popular wasn't everything, and that Max should just be himself. Then there's the fact that he hates on his mom for seemingly no reason. He's embarrassed to the point of anger because she.... Gardens? Not drugs, not stripping. But gardening. What?. Then, not unlike Golum from the Lord of the Rings, he becomes obsessed with obtaining a zombie. So, he decides to partner up with the class geek, since his dad is a certified zombie catcher. Eddy, the geek, makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with zombies, and yet Max emotionally manipulates him by using his dead mother into doing things that will only benefit Max. Time goes by, and a zombie is eventually obtained. Even when the geek agrees to help Max despite their falling out Max is still rude and insulting. Let the zombies get him, I say.

-Stemming off of that, this book isn't very believable. And yes, I am saying that about a zombie book. But the surrealism has naught to do with the undead, but the living. Max is supposedly this bottom of the totem pole level of popularity. Yet, when the bully (using gay jokes, naturally) starts trouble with him, he smarts off. Not only that, but he smarts off and then doesn't get his butt kicked..... If he's such a weenie, he wouldn't have been so, forgive my language, ballsy. And even if he was, the bully would have NO DOUBT found him. No convenient distractions or anything. Bullies fight. That's what they do. And then there's his mother's involvement with his friendships. My mother never questioned me when I stopped hanging out with people, just when I started hanging out with new ones.

-This book, ultimately, had a negative tone to it throughout. Max is a jerk, his best friend is somehow portrayed as one, his mom is portrayed as one, Eddy is snippy, and his dad is a villain out of no where (who actually uses the phrase "meddling brats"). It all seemed a bit thrown together and dark, with no major happy resolve...

-Unless you count the epilogue, which I do not, since it was essentially just a few pages to connect loose ends that weren't handled in the actual plot.

-+There's a few grammatical errors in the text, but it wasn't enough to deter from the story.

+Despite my issues with this story, I did like that each chapter started with a Texas state law or public service announcement regarding the dangers of zombies and the consequences of interacting with them. It gave a clear insight into the type of society this book is set in, and how much trouble Max was going to be in if he got caught.

Maybe I'm just a cynical old person now who can't appreciate kid's literature. However, I couldn't get past Max's insufferable-ness, and it disconnected me from the majority of the book. If I were to recommend this, it would be to kids/young adults in junior high, namely boys. I appreciate the concept of this story, but for me it just fell flat.

Thank you to Word Spelunking blog and the author for my copy.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [1]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to brag talk about the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. This is my first time linking up to this meme, and I'm pretty excited. This was a decent week for me, and I can't wait to get reading!


The Ingredients of Love by Nicolas Barreau
How NOT to Train a Zombie by Annie Rachel Cole
Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
The Thing With Feathers by Anne Sweazy-Kulju
Easy by Tammara Webber


All I Want For Christmas Is A Duke by Delilah Marvelle
Amaranth (The Resistance Trilogy #1) by Rachael Wade
Fields of Elysium (Fields of Elysium, #1) by A.B.Whelan

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Interview with Kimberly Krey!

Hello again bloggers. I hope that you're having some much needed and deserved rest this weekend, and I hope it's better out by you than it is here at the bottom of Illinois, where it's cold, rainy, and miserable. But you're just in luck! Tonight I have for you an interview with the author of the steamy debut novel Evie's Knight- Kimberly Krey- to help warm you up.

Please give some thanks to Kimberly for agreeing to stop by and talk to me for a bit, and enjoy!

Evie's Knight is the first book that I've read by you, is it your first publication?

Yes! Evie's Knight took years to bring to completion, mostly because it is my first one and I had a lot of learning to do along the way. I finished writing it in 2009, but made several significant changes before putting it out there.

What was your inspiration for writing this story?

I was fresh off reading a series that I really loved, and feared I would never find anything I enjoyed that much. So I took a shot at writing my own. (I didn't give up reading, of course! I never would!) Once I started writing, I sort of knew who my characters were. I knew Calvin was cursed, and that his mother had died. I knew her death had something to do with the curse. I took it from there and pretty much discovered the rest along the way. I had no idea how much I would enjoy writing; it has become a part of me I don't want to live without.

Calvin Knight is the sexy, alpha male love interest of this novel- who would you want to play him in a film adaptation?

Ha, ha! Well, I'd have to say, even though he's much older than him, Enrique Iglesias looks more like Calvin than anyone I've seen. Especially in this scrumptious picture. Seriously close to how I, personally, envision him. (yummy pic included - you're welcome)


Also, I had one reader/blogger say she pictured the song, 'I Can Be Your Hero, Baby' (sung by him) while reading the book. It does go nicely with it!

(via youtube)

There are some very steamy scenes between Calvin and Evie in this book. Was it hard to keep the romance clean in this novel?

I'd have to say yes, to an extent. I knew the two weren't going to go all the way, but I had scenes (where they went a little further) that I ended up toning down a bit before publishing. (sorry-ha,ha) I didn't tone them down too much, of course, because I love passionate scenes! To me - they are payoff points, so I like to leave plenty scattered throughout a novel to keep readers like myself satisfied. ;)

Well, now my mind is wandering! If you were gifted a power like the Knight brothers were, what would you want it to be and what would you do with it?

I've always wanted to fly. You know, like a bird. A giant, blond bird, I guess. But I don't know what I'd be able to do with that besides get places faster and freak people out along the way. Guess I'd have to head on up to the canyon like Calvin and Parker do.

I've heard of some writers that need to have a favorite pen or to be drinking a certain kind of pop while they write to channel creativity. Are there any methods or quirks that you have while you're writing?

I do have a few things that seem to help me during the creative stage. Mainly, music. I wrote Evie's Knight while listening to two or three different albums. I listened to Adele's first album almost every time I sat down to write. It would start with Day Dreamer.and I would just be in the zone. For me the music has to either fade dreamily into the background, or totally feed my muse. Adele's first album fades nicely. For the muse-feeding tunes, mainly for the fighting scene and where Evie got attacked - I used Flyleaf a lot. The song, Cassie, was one of my favorites. Sometimes I'd just hit repeat and write my heart out. The band Muse is good for those scenes too, though I often find myself pausing to sing along; a bit problematic.

Oooh, I love both Flyleaf and Muse. I can definitely see both of those fitting well. Is there a certain author or book that you grew up with that inspired you to be a writer?

I can't say that there is, from my youth anyway. I wasn't a great reader back then. In fact, I struggled to the point I was put in a special reading class in Jr high. It wasn't until later in my life that I discovered how incredible the literary world really is; I'm still making up for lost time.

If you got a chance to step inside your own book, how would you change the scenery of The Loft?

I think I'd create a nice, warm beach. Shark-less water, a giant sun, and plenty of soft sand. Throw in a picnic with some Diet Coke and I'd be in heaven.

Evie's Knight addresses a ghost and a curse surrounding deaths of loved ones: Do you believe in ghosts or life after death?

I definitely believe in life after death. In fact, I lost someone very close to me years ago. She was sweet and beautiful and too young to die. I had an experience, sort of like the one Calvin had with his mother. Mine was in a dream, but I believe it was a gift. I was able to stare at her sweet face, take in every adorable freckle, and then throw my arms around her. When I did, I felt what can only be described as love - such an intense dose of it my body could barely contain it. I will never forget that.

If you could have a conversation with anyone- living or ghost- who would it be and why?

Oh, this is a hard one. I'm going to skip it for now and move on. Hopefully something will come to me. If it doesn't, you'll be left with this. :)

You're really angry or are having a really rough day: what's the one thing that can always cheer you up?

My family. My husband has a way of bringing humor into things. It distracts me and makes me smile or laugh even if I'm bugged. And my kids, of course. Being with them is where its at - always.

I can imagine!
Are there any writing projects in the works that you can tell us about?

Well, I put FIONA'S FIGHT on hold to finish my western romance series. My next book, Cassie's Cowboy Crave comes out soon. It's about a cute girl from Seattle, a hot cowboy from Montana, and a witness protection program that has the two posing as husband and wife. I'm hoping to have it out by Mid-May or beginning of June.

I will definitely be checking those out!

I have a few "this or that" questions for you too. Just pick one of the pair.

Black and white or color?: Color.
Chocolate or vanilla?: Chocolate - dark
Cats or dogs?: Love both; gotta go with dogs though.
Summer or winter?: SUMMER!!!
Batman or Spider-Man?: Yes, please. I'll take both.
Pie or cake?: Can I take both here, too? Um ... cake.

Is there anything else you'd like to add to this?

Thank you for the unique and thought-provoking interview. I really enjoyed this one!

You're so very welcome. Thank you for the interview!

I reviewed Kimberly's first novel earlier this year in March. The four star review for Evie's Knight can be found here.

About the Author

I'm a writer of romantic Urban Fantasy, a reader of any good, clean romance, and a lover of home, family, and friends. A perfect day would include ample relaxing time with my hubby and kiddos (indoor or out). Add delicious meals involving seafood, chocolate, or Cafe Rio and I'm on cloud nine. End it with a novel by one of my favorite authors, Marcia Lynn McClure, and it's picture perfect. Random: I might be the number one hater of the chore, laundry. Still waiting for further verification. I'm obsessed with chapstick. I spread SoftLips chapstick (the pretty pearly kind) on my lips about a hundred times a day. I'm equally obsessed with mints; I eat them all the time. Altoids Smalls are my favorite. I smooth the lips, pop the mint, and I'm in good shape. My favorite super heroes are Superman and Spiderman. I can't really decide between them, which is fine because my husband happens to be a scrumptious combination of the two! (via Goodreads) Check out Kimberly's Goodreads page as well as her book. Click the picture for the Goodreads page.

Deathless Discipline by Renee Rose

Title: Deathless Discipline
Author: Renee Rose
Format: Kindle Edition
Pub. Date: December 30th 2012
Source: Amazon freebie


Four sinful stars.

Kate's love for being spanked is no secret. But this time, it's far more than a turn on. She doesn't return her dominant vampire husband Dom's phone call, making him worried sick. He'll have to deliver a far worse punishment this time for her to learn her lesson, and to never lie to her Dom.


This novella is short, sexy, and to the point. It's a vampire BDSM/spanking story that uses characters from the author's other book, Deathless Love. When I downloaded this short story I had no idea that it was based off another book, but the heat factor of this made me add Deathless Love to my TBR list. This edition also includes a bonus short story called Mary Catherine Learns Her Lesson, an exhibitionist spanking story set on Halloween. I actually preferred this story, because it features priest/school girl role play.

Both of these stories are teasing glimpses into a bigger story, and if Renee Rose was trying to lure me into reading her other works, it definitely worked.

This is an erotica/adult book. If things concerning BDSM, spanking, or sex bother you, than this is NOT the book for you. However, if you like your Dom to be an Italian vampire, or have fantasies regarding priests, this short sample is worth a read.

Blood and Snow by RaShelle Workman

Title: Blood and Snow (Blood and Snow #1)
Author: RaShelle Workman
Format: Kindle Edition, 53 pages
Pub. Date: June 6th 2012
Source: Amazon freebie


Two torn stars.

Salem, Massachusetts is a place where magic is expected to happen. But the uniquely named Snow White never imagines that such things will happen to her. Sure, she's constantly reminded of her fairy tale name, and it doesn't help that she has seven best guy friends. Her sixteenth birthday is rapidly approaching, and her weird dreams of being bitten by a vampire and eating a heart are only dreams.... Right?


Why must the books I've read lately make me agonize over a final rating? It's mentally exhausting. In a nutshell, this book kept my attention but not without a slew of bad writing and young adult cliches.

-This novella has managed to take all of my irritations about the young adult genre and bundle them up within its pages. Things such as:
An instant blossoming love.
A plain character with a hot friend who is inexplicably still their friend.
Writing. That. Looks. Like. This.
A random vampire appears!
A character with only one parent
A girl who doesn't realize that boys are attracted to her until way late in the game

-There's also a few things within the writing that made me dislike this story. For instance, if I read about the scent of peppermint coming from a tea, or a boy, or anything one more time, I would have flipped my table. There was also way more talk about how the characters looked or dressed as opposed to their personality. It gave the book a shallow, plastic-y vibe to it, and I didn't learn anything about the characters at all. There were also instances of poor word choice, such as keys 'coincidentally' being on the wall marked "keys" and the quote "It's icky, and it makes me feel icky."

+That being said, I do like the concept of a Snow White vampire retelling. I love fairy tales, and I love vampires when their well written.

This book leaves a lot to be desired, and doesn't do the town of Salem justice. And yet, in spite all of the novella's shortcomings.... I still want to read the next one. The first one ends with a cliffhanger, and god damn it I invested that much time in reading it, and I want the whole story. It's for that reason, and that reason only, that this book gets two stars instead of one.

If you like young adult stories or fairy tale retellings, maybe you'll enjoy it. But, at this point in the Blood and Snow series (who knows, maybe it gets better?) I wouldn't really recommend it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chocolate Kisses by Judith Arnold

Title: Chocolate Kisses
Author: Judith Arnold
Format: Kindle Edition, 75 pages
Pub. Date: July 14th 2012
Source: Amazon freebie


Four frosting-coated stars.

An up and coming (more coming than up) caterer, Claudia needs this Valentine's Day cotillion gig to go seamlessly. Before her work can even really begin, she wrecks the food while avoiding some moronic bike rider- a bike rider that happens to be the brother of the rich woman who hired her. For reasons she can't quite explain or understand, she finds herself drawn to him, and a little confused when he offers to help her in the kitchen. Between the pink frosting, the rich homemade chocolate kisses, and the heat of the kitchen, there's more than sweets being served up behind closed doors.


I saw this sitting on my Kindle, and I have no recollection of getting it. I assume I snagged it while it was free on Amazon, at some point. Though the cover leaves a lot to be desired, I'm really glad I took the time to read this novella instead of just moving it off of my ereader.

+The sexual tension in this book is ridiculous, and I mean that in the best way possible. Never before have I found neon pink frosting, chocolate, and even champagne-boiled shrimp so desirable in my life. And I mentioned this, while reading, to my girlfriend. So, thanks for that idea Judith.

+I like that despite her feelings, Claudia fought temptation as hard as she could. Because let's be honest, if a gorgeous, rich, smooth man wanted you to lick frosting off of his finger, most of us would do it without hesitation. Or, at least I would. Maybe that's just me! Though, I wouldn't mind a bit more spice to this book.

-My major fault with this story is the rushed happy ever ending aspect. I know, I know, it's a novella. And that's what novellas do. But it irks me, because to be honest I would LOVE to read this if it were lengthened into a full length book with more character development and a longer simmering time.

-There were also a few grammatical/spelling errors in this novel, but I didn't find that they took away from the story.

If you're looking for vulgar, erotic romance, than this story isn't for you. However, if you like your short stories with happy endings and almost agonizing teasing, then give this novella a try. Maybe it'll satiate your appetite. I feel that fans of Lauren Dane's Tart and other foodie romances would also enjoy this.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Makai Queen by Tara Fairfield

Title: Makai Queen
Author: Tara Fairfield
Format: Paperback, 207 pages
Pub. Date: February 7th 2013
Source: Diane Estrella's blog


Three indifferent stars.

Tessa is a girl who doesn't really have a proper place on Earth anymore, in a life changed after her parents' death. Contemplating her life and what's happened in it while walking along the beaches of Lanai, she is kidnapped by a man she had intended to save from drowning. He drags her into a new world, Moku-ola, a place beneath the sea that serves to protect all of the ocean's creatures. But life under the sea is torn as brothers feud, and when Tessa is called upon to be the new queen, she must decide if she wants the life the Creator has chosen for her, and who she wants to be.


First, and I cannot stress this enough: I am not the intended demographic for this book. I did not realize that this book was Christian fiction when I picked it up. That is my fault, and I'm not going to rip this book to pieces because I don't follow the same spiritual path. That being said, this review is going to be very short and to the point.

+The scenery/setting of this book is beautiful. I want to be on these beaches or under the waves, looking at all of the sea creatures and eating all of the ripe fruits that Hawaii has to offer. Tara Fairfield successfully created a world that I wouldn't mind seeing, and has made me decide that I definitely need to visit Hawaii before I die.

+The cover reflects this landscape. It's bright, aquatic, and the bright flower above the title is rather striking.

+I really like the idea of an oceanic shifter. The fact that Kupua can change forms into a seahorse, an octopus, or even a whale is a really refreshing change from bats, werewolves and cats that have been trending lately, especially in young adult literature.

+- I really liked the integration of Hawaiian language in this book. There's even a Pidgen glossary in the back. However, I would have liked a glossary for the italicized words too. If you're going to stress that they're non-English, than they should be elaborated by more than context clues.

-Instant connection/love. It doesn't matter what genre or age bracket, nine times out of ten it will make me have a disconnect from the story line. This novel is one of those nine.

-I found the sentences to be a bit short and choppy, making the narrative hard to get into. Similarly, I had issues with the pacing. I don't know if it's supposed to be the draw of the Creator/God figure that inspires this, but Tessa comes to terms with this new world awful quickly. She doesn't put up much of a fight, and she admits to being weak and unworthy. Now I know that this humility is good and such, but I just found her kind of whiny, and I didn't really care if she found her place.

At the end of the day, it's simple: Other people will enjoy this more than I did. This book is an adequately written piece of fantasy with strong Christian themes. It's clean with romance, adventure, and really cool "gifts" from the Creator like shifting or communicating with animals. It also includes a few discussion/book club questions at the end. I strongly recommend this to Christian young adults. If you, like me, roll your eyes at Christian fiction, pass it up.

Thank you to both Tara Fairfield and Diane Estrella for my autographed copy.

Post on Sunday

Hello bloggers. I hope you've been having a good weekend. I know for me, this week was super busy and stressful. My computer stopped working out of the blue, I had an essay due and a speech to give. Oh, and there was a tornado here, and I was kept in the basement of my school's dining hall. Blech. I wish I could just not have to do work and read forever haha. But, the plus side to this week is the presents and books I got in the mail, including a loving care package from my girlfriend, Emily.


Blink Twice by Anna Piaff(Review here)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
SIDEKICK: The Misadventures of the New Scarlet Knight (ebook) by Pab Sungenis
Talania — A Trip Down Memory Lane (ebook) by Crystal D. Spears

Gifted (from Emily):

Monster High by Lisi Harrison
The Compelled by LJ Smith

Isn't it a cool care package? Anywho, have a great week readers! xo Jillyn

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Format: Paperback, 485 pages
Pub. Date: April 14th 2009
Source: Purchased


Four befuddled stars.

Clary never suspects that when she goes out to the club with her best friend Simon that she will see a murder- let alone a murder that only she could see. Clary finds herself in a whirlwind of paranormal creatures such as vampires, demons, and werewolves, deceptions, betrayals, and shocking revelations as to who she really is, and what she's really capable of. Together with Simon, and the sexy murderer/Shadowhunter named Jace, she must decide what side she's on, and what she will fight for.


This review is going to contain a few spoilers. If that bothers you, scroll on.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but it came with its fair share of annoyances and plot issues.

+Jace and Simon are very vividly described characters. Each boy is loveable for different reasons, but along with the rest of the cast of this story, are narrated perfectly.

+The imagery that this book conjures is gorgeous. Cities that look like glass, flowers that glow into bloom only at midnight... This book is full of scenery that will make any fantasy lover swoon.

But in my very humble opinion, I feel like City of Bones is a patchwork of things that I've already read or watched. Don't get me wrong, I know that all books are inspired by something, and that several books will contain similar story lines. That being said, it still irritates me when the similarities are so strong that it deters me from the book at hand.

-A very certain character has a light up saber. He realizes that his father is the bad guy after being lied to. He falls in love with a beautiful girl. A beautiful girl who also realizes that her father is Darth Vader the bad guy. Luke and Leia much?

-There's also a pale haired guy named Voldemort who after experiencing a hardship starts a cult-like following called Death Eaters The Circle. He needs to find horcrux Mortal Cup to achieve his master plan. Of course, there are three deathly hallows Mortal Instruments, but only one is known to exist. Some of these Death Eaters Circle members turned away from Voldemort Valentine and now leave the reader unsure if they side with him, or Dumbledore the good.

With that little rant out of the way.... I enjoy both StarWars and Harry Potter, so I still somehow managed to like this book beyond all logic. I intend on reading the rest of the series and look forward to seeing this portrayed on screen coming soon.

Fans of Harry Potter and werewolf/vampire fiction will like this book. If YA fantasy is passe to you, skip it.

Sick Compy

Hello faithful followers and accidental viewers. This blog post is going to be brief, and written with the heavy heart of a nerd who doesn't like outside social interaction or communication: My laptop is sick. It's currently in the (hopefully) very capable hands of the SalukiTech workers. In theory, they just have to reinstall Windows and back up my data. They tell me it should be ready in 2-3 business days, which means Bitches 'n Prose will be quiet for a little while. But, there's a plus to this. Since I am suddenly whisked back in time to having no technology (....Well I have an iPhone. Details.), this means I will be cooped up in my dorm room reading the books that I've been meaning to get to, but haven't thanks to the ever-distracting interwebs. As of now, I'm almost done with my current book and will hopefully get at least one more read. So, when I come back, I'll have some reviews to post. I hope your week is going better than mine is, and try not to work too hard, you beautiful people you. ad meliora, Jillyn

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blink Twice by Anna Piaff

Title: Blink Twice
Author: Anna Piaff
Format: Paperback, 156 pages
Pub. Date: January 7th 2013 by Hipso Media
Source: Hipso Media


Four warm caramel filled chocolate stars.

Katharine Pearce doesn't know who she is anymore after going through a rather jagged break up with the man that she once intended on marrying. She moves into a London flat, and meets a mysterious, alluring cast of people that make her nights more interesting. There's the man that she can see in the flat across from her, stirring new fantasies within her searching soul. There's the painting come to life, a beautiful woman who works at a perfumery. Each character pieces together Katharine in a new, bolder, more sexually daring way, and by the time that she returns to the United States, she'll have only a ghostly memory of the tame woman she had once been.


I am very impressed with this book, my first piece that I've read by the pseudonym-ed "Anna Piaff." I hope that this won't be the last thing I read from her.

+The thing that I love most about this book is the gorgeous attention to detail. Things from paintings on the wall to the displays on store shelves are described in such precision that one could lose themselves in the setting completely. Nothing was overly described, nor was such accuracy and imagery boring. It was almost hypnotizing.

+Part of that hypnotism stems from the seductive tones that follow Katharine's journey from the start of the first page to the very last word. Blink Twice reads like a sexy dessert- tempting, sweet, drizzling, and so warm that you cannot help but to be lured in.

+Blink Twice is written to a man in particular, almost in a letter-like format. I haven't read many books narrated in this format before, and I've got to say that in this particular book, it really worked well with the story that the main character wanted to get across.

The only real critique that I have for this book is that I like my heat a bit more spicy. The erotic scenes within these pages are very tastefully done, but I found them a little too tasteful. It left a lot to the imagination, playing into the mystery motif that underscores the book and highlights the choice of a mask on the cover. But for me personally, I enjoy my erotic rendezvous to be more blunt.

I would recommend this book to fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and the various other BDSM romances that FSG inspired. Be warned, this book contains scenes of bondage, voyeurism, and LGBT nature. If any of the aforementioned bother you, or if you don't enjoy slowly sizzling romance, than this may not be for you.

Thank you to the author, Anna Piaff, and Daniel Cohen of Hipso Media for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Title: Stung
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Format: ARC
Pub. Date: April 2nd 2013
Source: WinterHaven Books blog


A very difficult 2.5, rounded down.

Fiona wakes up to a world that's different from the world she fell asleep in. She's alone in her dirtied, abandoned room with a tattoo on her wrist- an oval with five lines on either side. She knows she should keep it hidden as she walks out into the barren wasteland that, before the bees, was once her home. She must find out the meaning behind her tattoo, why she has been left alone, and why everyone who sees her mark wants her dead.

I'm honestly torn here on a rating. I'm going to say a 2.5. It had some really strong points, but too many negatives for me to give it a three.

First, the positives:

+I love the concept. Bees are important, and most of us don't think about the impact that they have on the Earth on a daily basis. It was cool to see how honey became a luxury good, and just how much the world could be in danger if they were simply to disappear (or be modified by the government.....).

+In true dystopian style, I like the conflicting levels in society. The Fecs, who live in the sewers, the beasts, who are dangerous, the criminal raiders, and those who are allowed inside the wall. Each were affected differently by the change, and none of them are an ideal place to be in.

+I love a good fight to the death. A bit like the Hunger Games, those with the tattoo are pitted against each other in fights until only one is standing. There's something morbidly fascinating about children/young adults trying to kill each other, and I liked that addition to this story.

+I love the cover design. It does represent the major plot of the story in a cool if simplistic way.

But for me, that's where the positives end.

-Instant love. Why is that such a recurring theme for the books I read lately? What happened to learning to love someone, or even the old cliche of enemies becoming loves? I found the main couple in this book to be almost nonsensical and a bit over the top, especially considering all of the danger and threats surrounding them.

-The beasts (those injected with the vaccine in the "change") went from being sci-fi creations to being odd fantasy mixtures. Strong, crazy, violent.... With healing saliva? No thanks.

-Arrin/Arris is one of the most insufferable characters I've ever come across. I don't care what gender they are, or what point in the book it is, they're mean and little and always popping up a bit too conveniently. I was very excited at the end of the book when they got what was coming to them.

-It really fell apart for me in the end. I feel like it was somehow both rushed, and yet, didn't answer anything. At the end of soap operas, when they some up all of the crazy shenanigans about twins and comas and alien babies.... Well, that's how this ending felt for me.... But I was left with questions.

*Why am I supposed to hate the government so much? I understand it's supposed to be evil, but there wasn't enough background information for me to feel passionately about their downfall.

*Where were the bees? The book is called Stung. There's a bee on the cover. But really, they weren't discussed very much. I would have liked to learn more about them, or the change, or something.

*Why is there a fairy tale style happy ending at the end of a dystopian novel? Everything was somehow patched up at the end.... I'm not sure if shit's about to go down in a sequel, or if that really is just a very very very wishful thinking type end scenario, but I feel like I was left out of part of the story.

-To be honest, I didn't find the writing itself to be all that well structured or thought out. The characters felt very shallow and underdeveloped- I didn't really care who lived or died throughout most of the novel. The characters keep referring to the incident that changed America as "before everything changed." I feel like it needed a name, Bee Day or something. Admittedly, whenever I read that line, I actually read "everything changed when the fire nation attacked". The villains were talked up as being super dangerous and rape-y, but the protagonists didn't really seem to have much of a challenge. A quote from the book that sums up the writing in my eyes: “Three minutes,” the doctor says over his shoulder, sounding just like a … doctor." ....Really? All in all I was disappointed with this book. I thought it was going to be a four star read, until the last quarter or so just fell apart for me. I cannot stress this enough I love the concept for this book, and I want to like it. Unfortunately, it fell short. I wouldn't really recommend this, but if you're a fan of books like The Hunger Games or Matched, you may like this. If you didn't like The Hunger Games, I wouldn't recommend getting this book.

Thank you to WinterHaven Books blog for my ARC copy.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Interview with Candace Jane Kringle

Hello there bloggers, and happy Friday! It's been a bit quiet here on Bitches 'n Prose lately, and I'm sorry about that. Schoolwork has been getting into the way of my recreational reading. But, I'm hoping to make it up to you now. How, you ask? Well, today I have a very special guest stopping by, and I'm super excited. This girl is an utter delight, and I'm so happy that she visited my blog!

Candace Jane Kringle, daughter of Santa Claus and author of the memoir North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus and North Pole High: Beginnings, has taken a pause from her super hectic schedule to answer a few of my questions.

Thank you for talking with me, and a very warm wintery welcome!

What inspired you to start creating this fun memoir?

I sometimes peek at the letters people send my dad. One girl from Muskegon, Michigan, asked for a new dad because her dad wouldn’t let her stay out late and stuff. Boy, did she ask the wrong dad for help with that. Then it dawned on me that other teenage girls’ fathers can be just as mean as mine, and it might help them in some way to know about what I went through.

I know that authors shouldn't play favorites..... But I have to ask: Of the people mentioned in North Pole High, who is your favorite?

You have to promise not to tell Rudy, okay? But definitely it’s Chefy. We’re always playing pranks on each other. He always covers for me whenever I disobey my parents. And he makes the best candy cane strudel on the planet. Plus he always makes me laugh. If only he were younger, and not a penguin.

I definitely promise not to tell. ;)
While writing down your thoughts, what's the best yummy Yuletide snack to fuel your creativity?

Peppermint milkshakes, gummy Christmas ornaments, and hot gingerbread boys. The usual.

I haven't eaten breakfast yet, and a peppermint milkshake sounds totally delicious right now.
If you could only pick one holiday song to listen to on repeat all season, which would it be?

I actually wrote additional lyrics to my favorite song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” My extended version is called “The Three Hundred Sixty-Five Days of Christmas (Three Hundred Sixty-Six on Leap Year)” and it takes all season to sing it once.

Are you planning on penning another book anytime soon?

I sure hope so. I can’t wait to find out what happens to me and Rudy next.

Can I get a copy of that one too? (joking)

Come up to the North Pole and you can be IN the book!

Don't tempt me, you'd never get me to leave!
You briefly mention the theme of homosexuality in the North Pole.... Is Queero the only one out and proud in the land of Santa?

Absolutely not. There’s a thriving LGBTQ community up here amongst the polar bears, penguins, reindeer, nutcrackers, elves, and the humans too. In fact we’ve always allowed same-sex marriage. Human-elf unions are a much more recent development. Tinsel is actually the Pole’s first elfman.

Well now, maybe I have to visit the North Pole so I can marry my girlfriend!
It's the first day of Christmas and your true love has a present for you.... What do you hope is in the box?

A smile. If it were made out of chocolate-covered peppermint, that wouldn’t be bad either.

So, I have to ask. When it comes to unwrapping presents, are you a saver (opening gently and saving the paper) or an eager elf who rips the package open?

Rip ’em. No question about it. That’s the only way Christmas presents are meant to be opened. Just ask the Giftwrap the Elf.

Do you do anything during the summer months to help stay in the holiday spirit?

For me it would be hard to lose the Christmas Spirit, living in the same house as Santa. But when we’re little, we all go to Christmas Camp in the summer.

While you're writing, are there any quirks or habits that you find yourself getting into? (A special pen, a certain song, a specific chair, etc.)

I lock myself in my room and stay in my jammies all day while I write. And I can’t write a word if there’s even one bulb burned out in the Christmas lights in my room. That drives me nuts.

I can imagine!
What Christmas movie do you absolutely HAVE to watch year after year?

Elf. I really missed Buddy that time he went to New York.

That's my favorite holiday film too. Buddy seems like he'd be a great friend to have.

And now I have a few word association terms. For funsies. Just say the first word that comes to mind when I say....

SPRINKLES: Ice-cream-sundae pizza.
PAPER: Books!
SHINY: Stars.

Now Ms. Kringle, is there anything else you'd like to add to this?

Thank you so much for asking me to do this interview, Jill, and for being my number one fan! I wish you a merry Christmas every single day!

Aw, shucks. You're most certainly welcome, and thank you for the much needed Christmas spirit.

I have previously reviewed both of Candace Jane Kringle's works, and loved them both. The five star review for North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus can be found here and my 4.5 star review for North Pole High: Beginnings can be found here. I definitely recommend checking them out, and I'm not just saying that so that you'll see my name in the ebook.....*cough*

About the Author

Candace Jane Kringle is a junior at North Pole High. She likes candy canes, unicorn races, and making snow angels. Her father is the most well-known and beloved toymaker and toy distributor in the world. Her memoir, North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus , is her first book. After high school, she plans to enroll at North Pole University and write more books, maybe even some fiction. :) (via Goodreads) Be sure to check her Goodreads page, in addition to her books. Click the picture for the Goodreads page!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mail Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime

It's been a good week in the Bitches 'n Prose dorm room. Even though the people in the mail room are tired of seeing me. Is it a little sad that they know who I am because I get so many books? Ah well. I could be addicted worse things I suppose, eh? The weather's been getting hotter, and to most people that means staying outside. Nope! Internet and reading in the air conditioning forever!


Ignite (Midnight Fire Series)- Kaitlyn Davis
Life of Death- Nicholas McGirr
Walking Disaster- Jamie McGuire(review can be found here.


The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison
Stung by Bethany Wiggins
Stake & Eggs by Laura Childs

Gifted (from Lisa):

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Keep an eye out for more reviews this week, including an interview with the one and only Candace Jane Kringle! Enjoy your week, bloggers! (All ebook pictures courtesy of Amazon)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title: Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2)
Author:Jamie McGuire
Format: Paperback, 448 pages
Pub. Date: April 2nd 2013
Source: Purchased


Five tattooed, sizzling stars.

All of his life, Travis Maddox has listened to the words of his mother. He's wanted to find a girl worth fighting for, a girl he knows will be his forever.... But in the mean time the college rebel makes a name for himself, kicking ass in local fights and sleeping with any hot girl who seems presentable. His world flips upside down when at a fight, he sees a girl beautifully out of place. AN innocent girl, unlike the easy girls he normally takes home. He knows that this girl is special, and he'll do anything to claim her, and to be claimed by her. A bet comes into the picture, gambling a month of no sex for Travis or a month of living with Travis for Abby. Only, Abby isn't as innocent as she initially seems. None of it matters to Travis. When it comes to protecting his Pigeon, he'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe, happy, and loved.

This is the reverse story to Beautiful Disaster, told from Travis' point of view as opposed to that of Abby.


Sigh. I waited so long for this book, and it was so worth the wait. I ran out to get it immediately after my classes were over upon its release, and it was definitely worth it.

+Travis. Oh my lovely Travis. My number one fictional boyfriend. Being inside his head is an amazing experience. It helped to explain a lot of his rage and rash decisions from book one, and it made him far more desirable. He's sweeter and deeper than he comes off in Beautiful Disaster, while still being an intimidating bad ass with just a hint of crazy.

+Surprisingly enough, I didn't even hate Abby in this book. I was expecting to, once the tables were turned, find her more insufferable and hard to get. But, I wasn't annoyed by her at all. In fact, she seems more perfect for Travis than ever. They're just so god damned imperfectly perfect.

+As my regular followers know, I hate fight scenes. A lot. However, I was able to follow the ones presented in Walking Disaster with relative ease. I was able to cheer Travis on through each blow and dodge, and I admittedly was nervous for him a few times despite me having read the book's previous installment.

+The cover is beautiful. I don't know if Jamie McGuire is in my head or not, but the one thing in males that I am most attracted to, aesthetically, is arms. The tattooed, muscular arm of Travis Maddox has been taunting me for months, and it finally looks so lovely on my shelf.

+The sex scenes are tasteful but scorching. There's enough tension and passion in Travis & Abby's scenes together to make the reader cheer them on and crave more of their togetherness. The scenes are never overly detailed nor are they skimmed over. Jamie McGuire finds the perfect balance of giving readers just enough of what they want while leaving the rest up to the imagination.

For once, I have nothing negative to say. If you are a fan of tattooed fighters, the New Adult genre, or of Beautiful Disaster & Travis Maddox, then give this book a chance. It's really cool seeing a romance, albeit a fucked up one, from a male protagonist's point of view.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Torched by Andrea Lynn Colt

Title: Torched
Author: Andrea Lynn Colt
Format: Paperback, 370 pages
Pub. Date: September 8th 2012
Source: Rainy Day Ramblings


Five incendiary stars.

Rose Whitfield is the girl we all knew in high school. A cheerleader, at the top of the food chain with smoking good looks and the hot designer labels to match. You either wanted her, wanted to be her, or loved to hate her. And oh, how people hate her. This comes to light once Rose finds herself in a jail cell framed for arson. She didn't do it, but the social hierarchy doesn't believe her. She uses this doubt as motivation to get her arch nemesis Paxton Callaway to confess to doing it. Help comes in an unlikely form in this explosive whodunnit that leaves you wanting more.


I positively adored this book. At first I was a little put off, since the main character Rose is a preppy cheerleader. Personally, I hated that type of girl in high school, and I thought it would disconnect me from the novel. I'm so glad that I was wrong, and that I gave this book a chance.

+Starting with the cover, this book has it going on. I love the design and the teal coloring, since it's my favorite color. It's what drew my attention in.

+Paxton. I. Love. Paxton. He has officially been added to the fictional boyfriend list on my blog. He may pretend to be cool with his quarterback status, but he's a little nerd at heart. I love my boys muscular, funny, and able to quote Spock. I know Rose is the lead, but Paxton was my favorite character within this book.

+The intensity in this book is through the roof. There are so many emotions happening at once that it's like an awful roller coaster ride of feels. I was furious when no one would believe her, heartbroken when her best friend shunned her, giddy and sexually frustrated on her behalf when she feels kisses get a little bit heated. Emotions are hard to perfect, but Torched accomplishes it.

+Honestly, I wasn't sure who did it. Normally, my problem with mysteries is that I catch on rather quickly and then find myself twiddling my thumb for the next 200 pages. Pleasantly enough, that wasn't the case for Torched. I changed my guess about half a dozen times in uncertainty, only to find out that it was one of my first guesses. It drove me crazy, not knowing, and that was my reason for flipping the pages of this novel so quickly.

This book is a sizzling, arson-y five stars. This book is perfectly balanced parts of mystery, romance, and humor. Andrea Lynn Colt tells a great, clean story with vivid imagery and strong, relatable characters (even though they are rich and on the coast and I am poor and in the midwest). I recommend this to YA fans, clean romance fans, mystery fans, and chick lit fans. There is mild language in this book, but it was so light that I don't think anyone would take offense to it. I can't believe that it's Andrea Lynn Colt's book, but I genuinely hope that it isn't the last.